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Thermal management in the printed circuit board (PCB) world is big business! A recent Markets and Markets report projects the thermal management market to reach $16 billion by the year 2024 with an average CAGR of 8% over that period . This is one of the fastest-growing segments of the PCB business and far outpaces the projected growth for the overall industry. While demand was originally driven by high-power telecommunication and mil-aero applications, it has rapidly expanded to include automotive, consumer electronics, and medical sectors. The components used in any electronic assembly generate heat whenever an electrical current flows through them, and the amount of heat depends on the particular attributes of the design (power requirements, design characteristics, transmission speed, etc.).
In addition to the heat generated from the electronic components, the resistance of the electrical connections, copper trace configuration, and PCB via structures contribute to the thermal output of the product. While RF/microwave and IMPCB applications hold the lion’s share of thermal management challenges, reduced PCB footprints combined with increased component densities can require advanced thermal management solutions on “vanilla” designs.
In our experience working with PCB designers throughout the years, there is a wide range of knowledge on the design side regarding the impact of thermal management design decisions on the PCB manufacturing process, and ultimately, product success. As we strenuously encourage early engagement between the designer and the PCB fabricator in all cases, it is particularly critical when developing an advanced thermal management solution. A disconnect between what the original design manufacturer (ODM) wants in performance and what the printed circuit fabricator recommends for the application is the biggest reason for an unsuccessful build of a new PCB design.
It is important to understand a couple of terms right from the start: thermal conductivity and thermal management. Thermal conductivity is the property of a material to conduct heat, while thermal management is the process of analyzing the system as a whole and effectively dissipating the thermal energy away from the heat source. We have chosen to focus this book on providing designers a thermal management desk reference on the most current thermal management techniques and methods from a PCB fabrication perspective, including a case study on an extreme mixed-technology design that we recently produced. We hope you find value in our efforts.
1. Markets and Markets, “Markets and Markets report projects the thermal management market to reach $16 billion by the year 2024 with an average CAGR of 8% over that period,” July 2019.
To download The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to…Thermal Management: A Fabricator’s Perspective, click here. You can also view other titles in our full library. Check out other books from American Standard Circuits, including The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Fundamentals of RF/Microwave PCBs and Flex and Rigid-Flex Fundamentals.